An image of Kavat (night dance mask)

Baining people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Kavat (night dance mask)

Other titles:
Mask, Kavat mask
Not on display
Further information

'Kavat' masks are made of tapa cloth stretched over a rattan framework, and are painted black and red and sometimes also yellow. The distinguishing features of 'kavat' masks are out-size round eyes and a dangling or bent appendage below the mouth. Because of their form and, more importantly, because of the way they are painted, these masks are linked with various animals and plants. Leaf or pig spirits are represented in conjunction with flora and fauna encountered in the bush or hunted there, and many other animal motifs are also used.

excerpt from Ingrid Heermann (ed.), 'Form colour inspiration: Oceanic art from New Britain', Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, 2001

Place of origin
Gazelle Peninsula, East New Britain Province, New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Baining people
mid 20th century
collected 1965
Ceremonial object, Sculpture
barkcloth, rattan frame, red and black natural pigments
66.0 x 61.0 x 85.5 cm overall
Purchased 1976
Accession number